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Under pressure from well-heeled Britons who want to take their pooches traveling, the government is considering replacing Britain's tough quarantine laws with pet "passports" and animal microchips.

Pet owners moving into Britain spend an average of $2,400 to board an animal in a quarantine kennel for six months, part of strict laws imposed in 1901 to keep Britain rabies-free.

Instead of locking pets in kennels, which dog and cat lovers say is cruel, the government says microchips could be inserted under the animals' skin so they can be identified by an electronic scanner at seaports and airports. Each pet also would have a passport-style document listing vaccinations against diseases.

Even if it is implemented, Americans coming to settle or work in Britain still would have to put their pets into quarantine.

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